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2005-12-20 09:59:00
Embassy Kinshasa
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L KINSHASA 002059 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/20/2015

Classified By: Ambassador Roger Meece. Reasons 1.4 (b/d).

1. (C) Following CODEL Brownback,s visit to eastern DRC, the
Ambassador traveled Dec. 3 with the MONUC North Kivu Indian
Brigade commander to a small forward operating base at
Katchanga in the Masisi area of North Kivu. Indian military
commanders told the Ambassador the base had been established
about two weeks earlier, largely because of the nearby
presence of "dissident" Gen. Laurent Nkunda. There is a GDRC
arrest warrant outstanding for Nkunda. (Note: Nkunda and
Col. Jules Mutebusi led troops under their command to briefly
take control of the city of Bukuva, South Kivu, in June,

2004. Nkunda has a long history of alleged human rights
abuses and likely war crimes in the DRC,s conflict starting
in 1996. Many Congolese believe that Nkunda, a Congolese
Tutsi, received support in the past from the government of
Rwanda. End note).

2. (C) En route to the MONUC camp, the Indian pilots overflew
small camps described by the Indian commander as being those
of Nkunda,s forces. In fact, the helicopter made two passes
over what was described as Nkunda,s headquarters, a
collection of small camps difficult to see from a distance
set in a small forested patch. The Ambassador saw and
photographed three apparent four-wheel-drive vehicles parked
outside of one structure. The Indian military commander
further explained that per MONUC information, it appeared
that Nkunda himself moved around within the area a good deal,
and may not be at the &headquarters8 camp at any given time.

3. (C) Throughout the general area, there were also a
substantial number of camps that the Indian commanders
explained were those of an ex-ANC (armed wing of the RCD-Goma
party) brigade, part of the substantial FARDC forces in the
area not yet a part of the national army integration process.
The Indians believe that the 2,000 - 3,000 ex-ANC troops in
the area would actively resist any operation being conducted
to target Nkunda. This in fact is the major obstacle to an
immediate operation to arrest Nkunda, with the specter of
renewed significant fighting involving the ex-ANC brigade and
possibly other forces in the area.

4.(C) At Katchanga camp, the Indian officers briefed that
Nkunda and his forces have been relatively quiet causing few
security problems in recent weeks. The Nkunda forces,
numbering a few hundred, seem to have money available, and
are largely buying food, rather than extorting it from local
citizens. Local citizens are divided, with some (primarily
Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese) apparently sympathetic to
Nkunda; others are not.

5. (C) The Brigade Commander briefed the Ambassador that he
has been working with 8th Military District Commander Amisi
to put together a plan to go after Nkunda. Both commanders
feel that moving elsewhere a significant number of the ex-ANC
troops currently camped in the area is key to a successful
operation avoiding more generalized potential fighting.
Amisi is reportedly working on how to do that. Responding to
a specific question, the Indian general said that he believes
that Amisi, an ex-ANC general himself, is sincere in this
effort. The Indian general was more guarded regarding the
position of North Kivu Governor Serufuli, however,
characterizing Serufuli only as offering him "overt"

6. (C) Comment: It is clear that MONUC and local government
forces have good information as to roughly where Nkunda is,
and the alignment of forces in the immediate area. The MONUC
Brigade Commander appeared confident that eventually an
operational plan can be developed with the FARDC Gen. Amisi
to go after Nkunda. Taking him on while surrounded by
several thousand sympathetic ex-ANC troops, however, would be
a mistake. In the meantime, although Nkunda appears to have
money to operate, possibly from the substantial funds
reportedly emptied from Bukavu banks during the June, 2004
takeover, Nkunda seems to have limited options available.
Absent renewed support from Kigali or someone within the DRC
such as Governor Serufuli, Nkunda appears unable to stage a
major military challenge. If he moves much beyond his base
area, he runs a significant risk of being attacked or
captured. His arrest would be a welcome development to
remove one more of the past, current, and potential future
troublemakers in the volatile region, and the MONUC Indian
troops are clearly keeping a careful eye on him. End comment.